Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We have been satisfied. They appreciate it when we give as many details as we can to avoid misunderstandings. They have educated us in Scrum, and I’ve been happy with their approach. On top of software development, we are also getting an understanding of how to do development better and how to improve ourselves.
How did Espeo perform from a project management standpoint?
We have visited them several times. We have Skype meetings regularly, and we have additional meetings as needed. They have encouraged us to use video so that the collaboration feels more like we’re doing it with actual people and not just some guy somewhere. It gives us the feeling that the project is more of a joint effort. I really appreciate that. It’s reassuring to see that the team is communicating with our developers. I can see the feed constantly, so I can get a general idea of what the issues are that the team is working on. We have even increased the frequency of video conferences. I was watching the demo of one of the sprints, and I can’t help feeling that Espeo’s understanding of our system is getting better all the time. It’s been a beautiful experience.
We needed to work with a slight cultural difference, but their customer relationship manager spoke excellent English and it was easy to relate to him. There have been some small surprises. We have a different holiday schedule than they have in Poland. It’s nothing major, but it’s something to consider when doing a multi-cultural approach. Otherwise, the differences have been quite small.
Are there any areas Espeo could improve?
You need 2 people for communication, and sometimes it’s not just them that needs to improve; it’s also us. The Polish business culture versus Finnish business culture is different. The active communication culture is something I encourage on both sides to avoid misunderstandings. When things were misunderstood or not communicated correctly, they’ve been quick to react. Their customer manager has been really sensitive to our needs and has improved their communication accordingly.
For North Americans and Europeans, I know the culture is different. It can be misleading when you hear someone speak British English. You think you’re doing business with someone from the UK, but they’re not; they’re Polish and you have to figure out their way of thinking. We had good luck with the project culture because our lead developer’s wife is from Poland. He frequently visits Poland and has Polish relatives, so he’s been a big help with the cultural differences.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Espeo?
I would encourage people to challenge them and ask things from them. They are surprisingly well connected in Poland. They can produce resources amazingly fast compared to Finnish companies. I’m interested in learning more from them. So far, they’ve been able to produce different kinds of talents for the project when we needed to go deeper in certain areas. I encourage people to see what they are capable of doing. So far, we haven’t reached the limit.